“Lonely at the Top: Where Does the CEO Turn for Advice?”



MODERATOR: Christina de Vaca, director, University of San Diego, School of Business; fmr. Chief Governance Officer, Valeant Pharmaceuticals


CEOs often need to step into the role with very little runway and even less time to get up to speed–all eyes are on them for the answers. Some CEOs are groomed for the role, and others find themselves suddenly in the top spot–making it even more challenging.

The CEO is exposed like no one else at the company; answering to investors, the media, consumers, employees and the board. They often make decisions on matters they’ve never handled before. No one has been through it ALL, and even seasoned leaders are often out on a limb–with many stakeholders in the balance.

Leaders can never delegate accountability and, for the health of their companies, must constantly be upping their game. Many CEOs would not feel comfortable being completely candid with a director whose job it is to oversee his/her performance.

  • So, where can THEY turn for sage advice? 
  • Where do they go to talk things through? 
  • Be unguarded? 
  • Who are their sounding boards? 
  • Where do they find “mentors” who really have “been there, done that”?

In addition to the traditional “hire and fire” responsibility of the board, another key consideration should be providing opportunities for support and guidance of the CEO.

Every leader, whether the CEO, department head or managing partner, understands how “lonely” the job can be.

This program will offer actionable takeaways for leaders and boards, alike.